Toiling in Obscurity


Margo Roby’s Tuesday prompt was deceptively simple. Write a poem inspired by the word “obscure.” As one of my work colleagues used to say, “Nothing is foolproof to a sufficiently talented fool.” Once again, I wandered into the weeds contemplating the number of verb synonyms for “obscure” that are also nouns: veil, curtain, cover, shroud, mask, cloak, shadow, eclipse, blanket, disguise, screen. And because I like to complicate things, I went looking for obscure (to me, at least) forms I hadn’t used before. I wrote a tetractys last week: basically a 1/2/3/4/10.

Hidden lives obscured from our very selves.

I also played, less successfully, with a triolet

By veil of night, she sped unseen
to the masquerade in her disguise.
To meet her love, her hope was keen.
By veil of night, she sped unseen.
She found another was his queen,
and knew at once his trail of lies.
By veil of night, she sped unseen
to the masquerade in her disguise.

If anyone wants to suggest a replacement for line five, in the comments section here, have at it! I tried “She saw him slip behind a screen,” but that didn’t work for me. There are fewer rhymes for -een than you might imagine.


2 thoughts on “Toiling in Obscurity

  1. What wonderful synonyms!

    She saw them both upon the green [I’m sure there was a green. The poem sounds as if it’s set in England :-D]
    She saw them both, no more serene
    She found them with no space between

    You’re right, not easy. Try a ghazal sometime.

    • Thank you, Margo, she found “them both…” is a great improvement! One of the things about a well-done triolet, too, is that the repeated lines should change meaning, at least subtly, by the end. It’s an interesting form to play with, so for a first attempt, I don’t feel too bad about it.

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